Alaska gubernatorial election, 1994

Alaska gubernatorial election, 1994

The 1994 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 8 1994 for the post of Governor of Alaska. Democratic candidate Tony Knowles narrowly defeated Republican candidate Jim Campbell and Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill of the Alaskan Independence Party.

Candidates

Incumbent Governor Walter Joseph Hickel had been elected as the candidate of the Alaskan Independence Party in the 1990 gubernatorial election. In April 1994 he rejoined the Republican Party and announced in August that he would not stand for re-election.cite web| url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01E7DB1339F936A1575BC0A962958260 | title = Two in the House Advance In Drive for Senator's Seat | accessdate = 2008-07-23 | date = 1994-08-25 | publisher = "The New York Times"]

In the Democratic primary, the Democratic candidate from 1990 and former mayor of Anchorage, Tony Knowles, won with 43% of the vote. He defeated former Lieutenant Governor Stephen McAlpine with 31% and former Speaker of the Alaskan House of Representatives Sam Cotten with 25%.

For the Republican nomination, businessman Jim Campbell narrowly defeated another former mayor of Anchorage, Tom Fink. Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill was easily selected as the candidate for the Alaskan Independence Party while Jim Sykes ran for the Green Party of Alaska.

Campaign

Both main candidates in the election were regarded as moderates and favored oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as cuts in the state budget.cite web| url = http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941023&slug=1937490 | title = Alaska Democratic Candidate Has Been Having Bad Hair Days | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-10-23 | publisher = "The Seattle Times"] Polls near the election showed Knowles with a strong lead over Campbell.

During the election the Campbell campaign ran an advertisement comparing Knowle's hair with President Bill Clinton's. The advert was criticised by supporters of Knowles who felt it implied that he was womanizer.cite web| url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506E3D8113EF93AA35752C1A962958260 | title = THE 1994 ELECTIONS: STATE BT STATE; West | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-11-09 | publisher = "The New York Times"]

Recount

As the results were counted state officials said that the contest between Knowles and Campbell was too close to call, with Knowles having a small lead.cite web| url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02E1D61531F935A25752C1A962958260 | title = Democrat Gets Nearer Top Job In Maryland | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-11-16 | publisher = "The New York Times"] Knowles declared victory on the November 18 after the official count showed that he was ahead of 528 votes with only 217 votes remaining to be counted.cite web| url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9903E3DA1131F933A15752C1A962958260&sec=&spon= | title = Democrat Declares Victory in Alaska | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-11-20 | publisher = "The New York Times"] He described the victory as the "largest margin I think I've ever won by" as his Anchorage mayoralty election wins had always been by very narrow margins.

Campbell contested the results and called for a recount, which was paid for by the state as the candidates were within half a percent of each other.cite web| url = http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941122&slug=1943212 | title = Democrat Takes Alaska Governorship | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-11-22 | publisher = "The Seattle Times"] Campbell also wanted to look into some voter incentives that had taken place including raffles and free gasoline for voters. These were defended as attempts to increase turnout and had been authorised by election officials.cite web| url = http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941204&slug=1945201 | title = `Voter Incentives' Raise Questions -- Apparent Loser In Alaska Governor's Race Cries Foul | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-12-04 | publisher = "The Seattle Times"]

The initial count showed Knowles with 87,701 votes and Campbell with 87,118 votes. The results of the recount slightly narrowed the gap between them with Knowles ending on 87,693 and Campbell on 87,157.cite web| url = http://www.elections.state.ak.us/result94.htm | title = 1994 GENERAL ELECTION OFFICIAL RESULTS STATEWIDE SUMMARY | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | publisher = "Alaska Division of Elections"] Knowles's victory margin was the smallest in any Alaska gubernatorial election.cite web| url = http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19941204&slug=1945202 | title = Democrat Wins In Alaska Recount -- Republican Won't Pursue `Voter Incentive' Complaints | accessdate = 2008-07-24 | date = 1994-12-04 | publisher = "The Seattle Times"]

Election results

Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (US)
candidate = Tony Knowles
votes = 87,693
percentage = 41.1
change = +10.2
Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (US)
candidate = Jim Campbell
votes = 87,157
percentage = 40.8
change = +14.6
Election box candidate with party link
party = Alaskan Independence Party
candidate = Jack Coghill
votes = 27,838
percentage = 13.0
change = -25.9
Election box candidate
party = Green Party of Alaska
candidate = Jim Sykes
votes = 8,727
percentage = 4.1
change = +0.7
Election box candidate
party = Patriot
candidate = Ralph Winterrowd
votes = 1,743
percentage = 0.8
change = +0.8
Election box candidate
party = Write-ins
candidate =
votes = 277
percentage = 0.1
change = -0.1
Election box majority
votes = 536
percentage = 0.3
change =
Election box turnout
votes = 213,435
percentage = 63.5
change = -1.3
Election box gain with party link
winner = Democratic Party (US)
loser = Alaskan Independence Party
swing =

References


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